August 13, 2010

The Art of Intrapreneurship

So you're probably wondering what an intrapreneur is? An Intrapraneur is someone who does entrepreneurial things within an existing corporate context. A Change Agent. A visionary who can also drive the change he/she sees. Someone who brings new possibilities into reality - not for their own purposes, but to build, grow or improve an existing company. In the staffing industry, constant innovation and intrapreneurship is definitely a mechanism that be put to greater use to help companies avoid stagnation and foster consistent future growth and success. Comrise does.

Most firms are able to create competitive advantages by finding new and better ways to compete in any given industry and staffing firms are no different. Agreed, that companies such as Comrise are not really creating a “product” that they can innovate, however, the fundamental values at the core of intrapreneurship can be undoubtedly applied to staffing firms and their employees to help improve performance and business processes– starting with inventive changes from the inside.

These are the top 4 characteristics that I believe make the foundation of the intrapreneur:

Creativity. This is one of the most important attributes of intrapreneurs. They don’t see what is but what could be. This translates to always having the “creativity” switch powered on. Such a mindset allows the intrapreneur to consistently superimpose a view of the future on the present.

Agility. Intrapreneurs must be willing and able to roll with the punches and be quick enough to find new directions and opportunities to make progress. It definitely helps to take the initiative and do some independent research in order to avoid being slowed down by learning curves, etc.

Persistence. It is not always important to hit a “home-run”, so to speak, in every discussion or presentation. I have realized that it is much more important to be bigger than any one day or any specific (crushing) decision. Listen to and accept feedback/criticism, and use it to improve yourself and ultimately, the company.

Commitment. Something I recall from one of Guy Kawasaki’s speeches, is that an intrapreneur must be infected with “a love for what the team is doing”. It is important to hire and retain people in a business that actually “get it” and “love it”.

Employees should continuously build their personal entrepreneurial toolkit by learning on and off the job. By taking on multiple, multi-functional, challenging jobs within the company and by learning the art of taking calculated risks (frequently), not only will the company benefit, but the employee may also benefit a great deal. After learning about the complacent attitude and conservative approach taken by many other staffing firms within the industry, I am glad to see Comrise is taking measures to embrace and foster this intrapreneurial thinking and subsequently use it to drive its ambitious growth strategy.

Personally speaking, the intrapreneurial drive is one of the keys to keeping me focused on innovation in the workplace. If I’m not doing something innovative, the intrapreneurial urge kicks in and starts driving me in that direction. For young and dynamic companies such as Comrise, mastering the art of intrapreneurship is very important, and we do realize that. If implemented the right way, it will undoubtedly help many staffing firms such as ours to establish sustained profitability and powerful market presence within an industry that has always been characterized as having a very wide-open playing field.

1 comment:

  1. Never heard that term before - cool!

    Just checked... added to the dictionary in 1992, first coined in 1978.

    This is definitely a work philosophy that could be espoused in any work environment to great profit. And, you're right, it's certainly something I see here at Comrise.

    Thanks for teaching me a new word, Dhawal!